Dairy rarity: quadruplet calves born

Four handfuls: Jervois dairy farmer Rupert Gazzola checks on his 12-hour-old quadruplet Illawarra-Murray Grey calves last week.Jervois has long been known for its ties to dairy farming but the small town witnessed a rarity in the industry.

Rupert Gazzola’s 11-year-old Illawarra cow defied the odds last week and gave birth to four Illawarra-Murray Grey calves.

The quadruplets, two bulls and two heifers, were naturally conceived and born without any complications.

Mr Gazzola, an agricultural science student, said he had learned his cow had given birth, and that all four calves were alive and healthy, via a phone call while he was at university.

“I was pretty shocked when I heard to be honest, I didn’t believe it,” he said.

“There’s about a one in 700,000 chance that they are quads and a one in 11 million chance that they are all born alive.

“It’s pretty unusual.”

The dairy cow has conceived about six times previously, of which just one was a set a twins.

Mr Gazzola said twin calves were not as rare in the cow industry, but quadruplets were something both his parents and grandparents had never seen in their time as dairy farmers.

“My grandparents bought the farm in 1959 and they haven’t seen four before,” he said.“None of them have had a cow or seen one with four calves.”

Mr Gazzola said the quadruplets would stay on the farm for the next year or so but probably wouldn’t join the 200-odd herd the family currently milks twice a day.

“They will be raised until they are about 18 to 20 months old and then they will be sold,” he said.

“They are all doing really well and are all healthy and strong.”

Murray Valley Standard, SA

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